UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: What Could I Do?
What Could I Do? What Could I Do?
A handbook for facing hard choices

Peter Hicks
ISBN 9780851112992 (0851112994)
IVP, 2003 (354pp)

Category: Christian Life & Discipleship

The trouble with Peter Hicks is that he is a moving target: philosopher, teacher, counsellor, church planter, pastor, house builder, long distance hiker — there's no hope of pinning him down long enough to analyse and typecast him. But that's the attraction of his new book, What Could I Do? It's hard to categorise but it has potential for usefulness in multiple ways.

It's not a dictionary of pastoral ethics, more a handbook for almost any eventuality: a sort of Swiss pocket knife for Jesus' followers in today's world.

We all get pretty tied up from time to time in the 'making your mind up' situation; it raises so many intricate and tortuous theological issues. Along comes Peter and the bracing, refreshing reminder: Some people go around in a daze, some in a bad temper, and others in fear. But it's our calling to go around in Christ (p.23).

In the first part of the book decisionmaking, any kind of decision-making, is tackled in a clear, accessible fashion with great subheadings: Working to Rule, Stuck and Unstuck, How about a Talking Ass? Here is a healthy, invigorating approach to the principles of Christian living and choosing which would be just the thing for beginners, empowering them to face pretty much any situation by giving them the tools to facilitate choices. It's also a healthy back-to-basics for the theologically sophisticated: a book to use in pastoral care and teaching.

The second section is a 'dictionary' of a multitude of question-provoking issues, from Alcohol to Work, and becomes a reference work rather than something to be read in one go (don't skip Part 1 though). Each topic has a brief introduction, a selection of biblical quotations to assist in choice-making and an overview of the considerations needed before the person makes their choice. Wisely, there is not a list of biblical references; most of us don't bother to look them up. So it helps that the passages are quoted in full, though sometimes rather a lot of them. And then there are some helpful appendices: Ten Steps to Changing Thought Patterns, Suggestions about Singleness etc.

Rightly used, this book will make every reader a more independent, mature disciple, and cut the pastoral load for overworked ministers — though they need this self-help handbook too. Buy the book, read the first section and rejoice. Then use it as a resource for friends, for house-group discussions, topical sermons and personal choices. Empowering stuff!

Related Titles
What Could I Say? (IVP, 2000)
What Could I Be? (IVP, 2005)

Lish Eves, March 2003

Lish Eves taught Missiology and much more at London School of Theology. She has decades of experience of mission work in Indonesia as well as many years experience with recalcitrant and eager students.

Previously published by London School of Theology. Reused here by kind permission.


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